21st century jewellery designers

Page 1


To Guy and my parents Brenda and Donald Weir In Memory of Comte Pierre-Louis de La Rochefoucauld


Contents The Jewellers in their own words

© 2013 Antique Collectors’ Club World copyright reserved

ISBN: 978 185149 7294

Introduction

10

JAR

16

The Jewellers

24

KAORU KAY AKIHARA/GIMEL The right of Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library The author and publisher gratefully acknowledge the permission granted to reproduce the copyright material in this book. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. The publisher apologises for any errors or omissions in the text and would be grateful if notified of any corrections that should be incorporated in future reprints or editions of this book.

8

26

186

The Gem Hunter Chef United States

VICENTE GRACIA

200

The Spanish Poet Historian Spain

HEMMERLE

214

Family Inspiration Germany

A Conclave of Jewellers Japan

ANNA HU WALID AKKAD

40

The Gardener France/Lebanon

LORENZ BÄUMER

54

The Tech Savvy Jeweller France

70

The Quiet Genius India

84

LUZ CAMINO

Opposite Dedication: Life Saver earrings by Suzanne Syz – top right: pale green jasper, coral, turquoise matrix, white

The Queen of Plique-à-jour Spain

100

268

The Quintessential American Jeweller United States

STEPHEN WEBSTER

Frontispiece: Poppy Brooch by Michelle Ong for Carnet – ruby, dark brown, black and white diamond, white gold

254

Refined Fun Switzerland

NICHOLAS VARNEY SEVAN BIÇAKÇI

238

The Art of Carnet China

SUSANNE SYZ BHAGAT

226

The Musician United States/Taiwan

MICHELLE ONG/CARNET

The Bladesmith Turkey

diamond; centre: yellow and green agate, white diamond; bottom: blue and yellow agate, white diamond

JAMES de GIVENCHY/TAFFIN

284

The Rock Jeweller United Kingdom

Title Page: Crab Ring by Lydia Courteille (the sign of Cancer from her 13th Sign Collection) – peridot, tsavorite garnet, white diamond, rhodium-plated black gold

WALLACE CHAN

116

The Zen Philosopher China

EDMOND CHIN/ETCETERA

132 THE NEW-COMERS 144

The Dream Weaver France Printed in China for the Antique Collectors’ Club Ltd., Woodbridge, Suffolk, England

158

The Versatile Artist Italy/Switzerland

PATRICE FABRE The Contemporary Alchemist France

Timelines Further Reading

174

314

Rami Abboud – Lebanon Tomasz Donocik – United Kingdom LaMouche – China/France 10 Royale – France The Future

MICHELE della VALLE

300

The Film Director China

The Innovator China

LYDIA COURTEILLE

DICKSON YEWN/ YEWN HERITAGE

Acknowledgements Photo Credits

344 350 356 358 358


JAR High jewellery design of the 1960s and 1970s (bar a few notable exceptions) was a particularly bland affair; the designs were classic, cautious and geared to a Middle Eastern market. This started to change with the colourful jewels created by Bulgari in the ’70s and early ’80s, which were admired by all and sundry. JAR helped continue to push the boundaries of what was acceptable with his entirely new and fresh approach to the preconceived ideas of the time in high jewellery. The words that sum up his jewellery are “exquisite” and “surprise”. Many of his ideas were simple, yet no-one had thought of or dared to do it before. He looked at cut gemstones and turned them upside-down, he mixed precious gemstones with other less conventional gemstones, he was interested in their colour and the threedimensional effect of what he was creating. His passion for gemstones and his audacity to use unusual materials in different ways set him apart from his peers. He introduced new materials and experimented with them just as an artist would do. Gentle multiple lights were created with his unusual combinations and settings. Basalt was an early choice to become the foil for his diamonds, the black matt surface of the basalt served to contrast with the bright adamantine lustre of the diamonds. His search for lighter materials brought him to try out titanium well before anyone else in high jewellery. His famous Mughal bracelet came to life in 1987. He used the magnificent display of pink, violet and blue titanium hues to highlight the ruby, amethyst, diamond and sapphire Mughal flowers and buds that were entwined around the bangle. India and its Mughal period had a strong influence on his early years, given a large capecoloured pear-shaped diamond to set, his initial reaction was to wonder how to disguise it. Taking his cue from the wonderful colourful mosaics of the Mughal period, he created a double poppy flower brooch with the stem winding itself around the diamond and terminating in a new bud. The petals are all formed from specially cut cabochon pink tourmaline and the stem and leaves from green tourmaline. The cape colour of the diamond blends cleverly with the green tendril ensnaring it. Having ‘experimented’ with titanium, JAR moved on to using aluminium, which is still a staple in his repertoire.

Mughal Poppy Brooch – pink and green tourmaline, white diamond (37.23cts), yellow gold OPPOSITE: Mughal Flower Bangle – blue sapphire, ruby, tourmaline, amethyst, tsavorite garnet, white diamond, oxidized titanium, silver and yellow gold

16


JAR High jewellery design of the 1960s and 1970s (bar a few notable exceptions) was a particularly bland affair; the designs were classic, cautious and geared to a Middle Eastern market. This started to change with the colourful jewels created by Bulgari in the ’70s and early ’80s, which were admired by all and sundry. JAR helped continue to push the boundaries of what was acceptable with his entirely new and fresh approach to the preconceived ideas of the time in high jewellery. The words that sum up his jewellery are “exquisite” and “surprise”. Many of his ideas were simple, yet no-one had thought of or dared to do it before. He looked at cut gemstones and turned them upside-down, he mixed precious gemstones with other less conventional gemstones, he was interested in their colour and the threedimensional effect of what he was creating. His passion for gemstones and his audacity to use unusual materials in different ways set him apart from his peers. He introduced new materials and experimented with them just as an artist would do. Gentle multiple lights were created with his unusual combinations and settings. Basalt was an early choice to become the foil for his diamonds, the black matt surface of the basalt served to contrast with the bright adamantine lustre of the diamonds. His search for lighter materials brought him to try out titanium well before anyone else in high jewellery. His famous Mughal bracelet came to life in 1987. He used the magnificent display of pink, violet and blue titanium hues to highlight the ruby, amethyst, diamond and sapphire Mughal flowers and buds that were entwined around the bangle. India and its Mughal period had a strong influence on his early years, given a large capecoloured pear-shaped diamond to set, his initial reaction was to wonder how to disguise it. Taking his cue from the wonderful colourful mosaics of the Mughal period, he created a double poppy flower brooch with the stem winding itself around the diamond and terminating in a new bud. The petals are all formed from specially cut cabochon pink tourmaline and the stem and leaves from green tourmaline. The cape colour of the diamond blends cleverly with the green tendril ensnaring it. Having ‘experimented’ with titanium, JAR moved on to using aluminium, which is still a staple in his repertoire.

Mughal Poppy Brooch – pink and green tourmaline, white diamond (37.23cts), yellow gold OPPOSITE: Mughal Flower Bangle – blue sapphire, ruby, tourmaline, amethyst, tsavorite garnet, white diamond, oxidized titanium, silver and yellow gold

16


Conclave of Master Jewellers Having founded Gimel in 1992, Akihara searched for a place that would become her haven of peace. She eventually found it, her “Conclave of master jewellers”, on the cherry blossom slopes of the red mountains overlooking Kobé. In 1992 it was a sanctuary of calm for the 22 artisans who started out with her, and which has now grown into a family of 44 highly skilled master craftsmen. Kaoru Kay Akihara uses her skills as a painter to communicate her ideas. She brings her team together – stone setters and those who work the metal – to discuss each design. They place a selection of white diamonds close together and move them around associating small stones with larger ones until they are satisfied. The diamonds are then gauged (measured) and replaced one by one with coloured gemstones so that the association between each stone doesn’t jar with its neighbour, until the desired effect is found. A model is then made in silver before being made in Akihara’s preferred medium of platinum; as she says:

“… it is strong and never changes.”

Recurring Themes Many of Kaoru Kay Akihara’s favourite themes are concerned with the changing seasons that occupy such a profound place in Japan’s daily life and in its arts. Kimonos and scrolls placed in the tea room are all chosen for their appropriateness with the season. In spring, the Japanese celebrate the flowering of the Sakura cherry blossom with hanami parties (cherry blossom viewings). Akihara’s delightful platinum brooches set with differing hues of pink diamonds and the smaller clips in the shape of delicate pink petals catch the transient, fleeting nature of the cherry blossom, as it sweeps across Japan in a wave from South to North. Cherry blossom symbolises to many, the nobleness and temporary nature of life, and here the Gimel’s cherry blossom presents nature at its most beautiful. In Autumn momiji – gari (maple leaf viewing) grips the country and just as swathes of red leaves (koyo) from the maple trees and the burnt-oranges of the zelgova trees spread from North to South, so, Akihara’s brown, orange and yellow diamonds and garnets spread over a small platinum leaf brooch catching for eternity the changes of the season.

A Secret These delightful jewels all hold a secret that has its origins in tradition and is very much a part of the Gimel philosophy. On the underside of each jewel there sits a tiny but perfect creature set with a cabochon sapphire or tourmaline. It could be a snail or a caterpillar with enamelled flanks chomping its way through a decaying leaf or, perhaps, a ladybird, spider or an ant hiding in the folds of a leaf or under a petal. Kaoru Kay Akihara states that this simple idea came from the tradition of the kimono where perfection is everything but where a small expression of one’s inner self is not revealed, as in the honne (inner self)/tatemae (public face) divide, which is given such importance in Japan.

OPPOSITE PAGE: Green Maple Leaf Brooch (changing colour) – demantoid garnet, yellow and white diamond, platinum

Green Maple Leaf Brooch (changing colour) with caterpillar – demantoid garnet, blue sapphire, yellow and white diamond, platinum, yellow gold THIS PAGE: Autumn Maple Leaf Brooch – Mandarin garnet, yellow diamond, sapphire, yellow gold

Autumn Maple Leaf Brooch, back view showing the “secret” ladybird – Mandarin garnet, yellow diamond, sapphire, yellow gold

32


Conclave of Master Jewellers Having founded Gimel in 1992, Akihara searched for a place that would become her haven of peace. She eventually found it, her “Conclave of master jewellers”, on the cherry blossom slopes of the red mountains overlooking Kobé. In 1992 it was a sanctuary of calm for the 22 artisans who started out with her, and which has now grown into a family of 44 highly skilled master craftsmen. Kaoru Kay Akihara uses her skills as a painter to communicate her ideas. She brings her team together – stone setters and those who work the metal – to discuss each design. They place a selection of white diamonds close together and move them around associating small stones with larger ones until they are satisfied. The diamonds are then gauged (measured) and replaced one by one with coloured gemstones so that the association between each stone doesn’t jar with its neighbour, until the desired effect is found. A model is then made in silver before being made in Akihara’s preferred medium of platinum; as she says:

“… it is strong and never changes.”

Recurring Themes Many of Kaoru Kay Akihara’s favourite themes are concerned with the changing seasons that occupy such a profound place in Japan’s daily life and in its arts. Kimonos and scrolls placed in the tea room are all chosen for their appropriateness with the season. In spring, the Japanese celebrate the flowering of the Sakura cherry blossom with hanami parties (cherry blossom viewings). Akihara’s delightful platinum brooches set with differing hues of pink diamonds and the smaller clips in the shape of delicate pink petals catch the transient, fleeting nature of the cherry blossom, as it sweeps across Japan in a wave from South to North. Cherry blossom symbolises to many, the nobleness and temporary nature of life, and here the Gimel’s cherry blossom presents nature at its most beautiful. In Autumn momiji – gari (maple leaf viewing) grips the country and just as swathes of red leaves (koyo) from the maple trees and the burnt-oranges of the zelgova trees spread from North to South, so, Akihara’s brown, orange and yellow diamonds and garnets spread over a small platinum leaf brooch catching for eternity the changes of the season.

A Secret These delightful jewels all hold a secret that has its origins in tradition and is very much a part of the Gimel philosophy. On the underside of each jewel there sits a tiny but perfect creature set with a cabochon sapphire or tourmaline. It could be a snail or a caterpillar with enamelled flanks chomping its way through a decaying leaf or, perhaps, a ladybird, spider or an ant hiding in the folds of a leaf or under a petal. Kaoru Kay Akihara states that this simple idea came from the tradition of the kimono where perfection is everything but where a small expression of one’s inner self is not revealed, as in the honne (inner self)/tatemae (public face) divide, which is given such importance in Japan.

OPPOSITE PAGE: Green Maple Leaf Brooch (changing colour) – demantoid garnet, yellow and white diamond, platinum

Green Maple Leaf Brooch (changing colour) with caterpillar – demantoid garnet, blue sapphire, yellow and white diamond, platinum, yellow gold THIS PAGE: Autumn Maple Leaf Brooch – Mandarin garnet, yellow diamond, sapphire, yellow gold

Autumn Maple Leaf Brooch, back view showing the “secret” ladybird – Mandarin garnet, yellow diamond, sapphire, yellow gold

32


LORENZ BÄUMER


LORENZ BÄUMER


TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Peacock Ring – intaglio, painted porcelain, white diamond, silver, yellow gold

Civciv (hatching chick) Ring – intaglio, foiled rose-cut brown- and cognac-coloured diamond, white diamond, silver, yellow gold Beehive Ring – intaglio, gold natural pearl, yellow and white diamond, silver, yellow gold SECOND ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Love Bird Ring – intaglio, white diamond, silver, yellow gold

Swan Lake Ring – intaglio, black enamel, calligraphy, black and white diamond, silver, yellow gold Seagull’s Heaven Ring – intaglio, white diamond, silver, yellow gold OPPOSITE PAGE: Laleli (Tulip) Ring – intaglio, ceramic micromosaic, enamel, white diamond, silver, yellow gold

92

Meanwhile, in the next door workshop the intaglios are carved and painted, some with layers of seemingly floating motifs. These will now be set into the finished rings, creating the mysterious, and hauntingly beautiful jewels, such as the Seagulls’ Heaven, in which seagulls can be seen gliding at different levels within the intaglio. The exquisite finish and attention to detail when setting the diamonds is strikingly evident in this ring. The detail given to the sides is quite exceptional, every angle is studied and is equally important; it is a holistic approach. Many references to Ottoman art can be found in the mounts of Biçakçi’s rings; the Lion’s head as guardian, the colours of the peacock recalling the patterns of a peacock feather. White diamonds are set within a sea of smaller white diamonds frequently in blackened oxidized silver, the outlines defined by mille grain sketch-like lines of silver contrasting with the smooth, deep yellow gold of the shank. Each ring has its unique mount, scroll-like motifs, stained glass-like enamellings (see Laleli ring opposite); many are decorated with black, brown and lighter beige to white coloured diamonds. Even ancient jargoon-like settings are used for flat rose-cut diamonds. Afterwards, the jewel is controlled for quality at the end of the process. After years as a bench jeweller, Sevan Biçakçi works as a teacher, hands on, giving instructions and solving problems as he walks between his jewellers suggesting ways in which his bench jewellers can overcome the unforeseen and inevitable obstacles that are the lot of every single jewel.


TOP ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Peacock Ring – intaglio, painted porcelain, white diamond, silver, yellow gold

Civciv (hatching chick) Ring – intaglio, foiled rose-cut brown- and cognac-coloured diamond, white diamond, silver, yellow gold Beehive Ring – intaglio, gold natural pearl, yellow and white diamond, silver, yellow gold SECOND ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT: Love Bird Ring – intaglio, white diamond, silver, yellow gold

Swan Lake Ring – intaglio, black enamel, calligraphy, black and white diamond, silver, yellow gold Seagull’s Heaven Ring – intaglio, white diamond, silver, yellow gold OPPOSITE PAGE: Laleli (Tulip) Ring – intaglio, ceramic micromosaic, enamel, white diamond, silver, yellow gold

92

Meanwhile, in the next door workshop the intaglios are carved and painted, some with layers of seemingly floating motifs. These will now be set into the finished rings, creating the mysterious, and hauntingly beautiful jewels, such as the Seagulls’ Heaven, in which seagulls can be seen gliding at different levels within the intaglio. The exquisite finish and attention to detail when setting the diamonds is strikingly evident in this ring. The detail given to the sides is quite exceptional, every angle is studied and is equally important; it is a holistic approach. Many references to Ottoman art can be found in the mounts of Biçakçi’s rings; the Lion’s head as guardian, the colours of the peacock recalling the patterns of a peacock feather. White diamonds are set within a sea of smaller white diamonds frequently in blackened oxidized silver, the outlines defined by mille grain sketch-like lines of silver contrasting with the smooth, deep yellow gold of the shank. Each ring has its unique mount, scroll-like motifs, stained glass-like enamellings (see Laleli ring opposite); many are decorated with black, brown and lighter beige to white coloured diamonds. Even ancient jargoon-like settings are used for flat rose-cut diamonds. Afterwards, the jewel is controlled for quality at the end of the process. After years as a bench jeweller, Sevan Biçakçi works as a teacher, hands on, giving instructions and solving problems as he walks between his jewellers suggesting ways in which his bench jewellers can overcome the unforeseen and inevitable obstacles that are the lot of every single jewel.


For the story of Courteille’s jewels to be complete, a rendez-vous at her Parisian boutique, or at her exhibitions worldwide in Moscow, Hong Kong or Miami, must enchant, beguile and bewitch. The website designed by Natalie Shau, a young Lithuanian illustrator perpetuates this very special atmosphere. The nine ‘universes’ are represented by fragile, porcelain-faced divas evoking all of these enigmatic yet whimsical and exuberant worlds. Each of Shau’s illustrations shows the jewels that Courteille has placed in that ‘universe’, one click and Courteille’s other jewels pop up just as if you were pulling out the drawer of a specimen cabinet. Shau created her delicate and, in some cases, tatooed maidens taking her inspiration from Eastern European fairytales and classical Russian literature. Here Lydia Courteille’s gothic imagination dances a beat with the innocence and passions of her ‘cabinet de curiosités’

“This is a woman’s occupation for women.”

Monkey Bracelet – angel skin coral, ruby, green garnet, black diamond, rhodium-plated black gold Vine Cocktail Ring – amethyst, orange sapphire, green garnet, jade, yellow gold

Other favourites have been monkeys holding large precious stones or embracing flowers carved from angel skin coral or jade.

Clients Courteille opened her first shop in 1987, moving to her present premises in 1993. Her clients are mostly women; just by entering 231 rue Saint Honoré they are already expressing a choice:

“They already understand… we are on the same wavelength, they come to me to treat themselves.”

156

Flower Earrings – green garnet, rhodium-plated black gold

Beetle Cocktail Ring – black opal, fire opal, ruby, spinel, cognac-coloured diamond, rhodium-plated black gold

157


For the story of Courteille’s jewels to be complete, a rendez-vous at her Parisian boutique, or at her exhibitions worldwide in Moscow, Hong Kong or Miami, must enchant, beguile and bewitch. The website designed by Natalie Shau, a young Lithuanian illustrator perpetuates this very special atmosphere. The nine ‘universes’ are represented by fragile, porcelain-faced divas evoking all of these enigmatic yet whimsical and exuberant worlds. Each of Shau’s illustrations shows the jewels that Courteille has placed in that ‘universe’, one click and Courteille’s other jewels pop up just as if you were pulling out the drawer of a specimen cabinet. Shau created her delicate and, in some cases, tatooed maidens taking her inspiration from Eastern European fairytales and classical Russian literature. Here Lydia Courteille’s gothic imagination dances a beat with the innocence and passions of her ‘cabinet de curiosités’

“This is a woman’s occupation for women.”

Monkey Bracelet – angel skin coral, ruby, green garnet, black diamond, rhodium-plated black gold Vine Cocktail Ring – amethyst, orange sapphire, green garnet, jade, yellow gold

Other favourites have been monkeys holding large precious stones or embracing flowers carved from angel skin coral or jade.

Clients Courteille opened her first shop in 1987, moving to her present premises in 1993. Her clients are mostly women; just by entering 231 rue Saint Honoré they are already expressing a choice:

“They already understand… we are on the same wavelength, they come to me to treat themselves.”

156

Flower Earrings – green garnet, rhodium-plated black gold

Beetle Cocktail Ring – black opal, fire opal, ruby, spinel, cognac-coloured diamond, rhodium-plated black gold

157


Some of Varney’s clients wish to stay with the noble metals, in which case he uses organic shapes or geometric pavé to create his conflict.

“When punctuating pavé, rather than lots of little sparkles you go oversize; the geometry is something completely unexpected.” He also uses his client to create the contrast, for instance creating a massive ring for a very small slender woman. His jewellery is based on a complicit and entirely couture approach to his clientele. The relationship between the person and the jewel is always important. He takes time to get to know his clients, they tell him about their lifestyles and how they wear fashion.

“The more I know about them the more it is [complicit]. It’s not a Le Corbusier thing where they are going to live within my space; I live within their space. They have a way of phrasing things and I encourage more input, if I do anything I offer options they would never have thought of.” Snake Bracelet – moonstone, ruby, fire opal, cognaccoloured and white diamond, yellow gold

Background Nicholas Varney had a well-travelled childhood, he travelled worldwide and was imbued with interests as wide ranging as fox hunting and diving, to visiting museums in European cities, to fishing on soft, misty days in Ireland. He never questioned that he would be a jewellery designer; as a child his father would take him on trips to the Swiss jeweller Eric Bertrand to buy a ring for his mother. He loved the process of choosing, the question of expense, whether his father could afford it, the actual buying of the jewel and then the presentation of the gift to his mother and how she received it.

“It was the ultimate hook, the fascination of what jewellery could do.” After a stint as a professional baseball player in the U.S., he went to the University of Colorado to study architecture, spending his summers in Europe, at Parsons to learn how to paint and at the Lacoste School of Art learning photographic techniques with Henri Cartier Bresson as his teacher. Henri Cartier Bresson had a profound impact on Varney, spontaneity became hugely important in his future work and it is almost a mantra for Varney’s designs. In 1993, Varney went to Vicenza, Italy, for a year’s post-graduate study at the Gemmological Institute of America. 1993 was an interesting time to be in Vicenza; De Beers was having problems controlling the world supply of diamonds, especially from Russia. The Russian authorities were sending their first group of people from the cutting factories to Vicenza to compare the differences between the Russian diamond grading system and the Western world systems. These cutters had been earning 30 to 40 dollars a month and were now getting 15 dollars a day just for food whilst in Vicenza. They would save this money and not eat says Varney. Varney became friends with many of them, he threw pasta parties a couple of times a week: he’d produce the pasta and they would produce the pepper vodka! They helped Varney get the diamonds he needed at the beginning of his career and he remains friends with many of them to this day.

Star Burst Brooch – Freshwater Mississippi mussel pearl, green tourmaline, peridot, moonstone, white diamond, white and yellow gold

272

On his return from Vicenza, Varney started to work as a salesman at David Webb, however, he was never allowed to sell, so he spent his time learning to carve wax from the wax carvers and talking to the bench jewellers in the workshop. In 1994 he started his own business creating jewels on commission.


Some of Varney’s clients wish to stay with the noble metals, in which case he uses organic shapes or geometric pavé to create his conflict.

“When punctuating pavé, rather than lots of little sparkles you go oversize; the geometry is something completely unexpected.” He also uses his client to create the contrast, for instance creating a massive ring for a very small slender woman. His jewellery is based on a complicit and entirely couture approach to his clientele. The relationship between the person and the jewel is always important. He takes time to get to know his clients, they tell him about their lifestyles and how they wear fashion.

“The more I know about them the more it is [complicit]. It’s not a Le Corbusier thing where they are going to live within my space; I live within their space. They have a way of phrasing things and I encourage more input, if I do anything I offer options they would never have thought of.” Snake Bracelet – moonstone, ruby, fire opal, cognaccoloured and white diamond, yellow gold

Background Nicholas Varney had a well-travelled childhood, he travelled worldwide and was imbued with interests as wide ranging as fox hunting and diving, to visiting museums in European cities, to fishing on soft, misty days in Ireland. He never questioned that he would be a jewellery designer; as a child his father would take him on trips to the Swiss jeweller Eric Bertrand to buy a ring for his mother. He loved the process of choosing, the question of expense, whether his father could afford it, the actual buying of the jewel and then the presentation of the gift to his mother and how she received it.

“It was the ultimate hook, the fascination of what jewellery could do.” After a stint as a professional baseball player in the U.S., he went to the University of Colorado to study architecture, spending his summers in Europe, at Parsons to learn how to paint and at the Lacoste School of Art learning photographic techniques with Henri Cartier Bresson as his teacher. Henri Cartier Bresson had a profound impact on Varney, spontaneity became hugely important in his future work and it is almost a mantra for Varney’s designs. In 1993, Varney went to Vicenza, Italy, for a year’s post-graduate study at the Gemmological Institute of America. 1993 was an interesting time to be in Vicenza; De Beers was having problems controlling the world supply of diamonds, especially from Russia. The Russian authorities were sending their first group of people from the cutting factories to Vicenza to compare the differences between the Russian diamond grading system and the Western world systems. These cutters had been earning 30 to 40 dollars a month and were now getting 15 dollars a day just for food whilst in Vicenza. They would save this money and not eat says Varney. Varney became friends with many of them, he threw pasta parties a couple of times a week: he’d produce the pasta and they would produce the pepper vodka! They helped Varney get the diamonds he needed at the beginning of his career and he remains friends with many of them to this day.

Star Burst Brooch – Freshwater Mississippi mussel pearl, green tourmaline, peridot, moonstone, white diamond, white and yellow gold

272

On his return from Vicenza, Varney started to work as a salesman at David Webb, however, he was never allowed to sell, so he spent his time learning to carve wax from the wax carvers and talking to the bench jewellers in the workshop. In 1994 he started his own business creating jewels on commission.


“My clients like to wear things that provoke questions, they aren’t wallflowers, they’re entertainers, they want to make a statement.”

STEPHEN WEBSTER The Rock Jeweller Stephen Webster was only 16 when he attended the Medway College of Design and began his long journey from bench jeweller to the London jewellery trade to one of the largest jewellery manufacturing and design brands in London with an international reputation.

“The foundry, blacksmithing and the flames, noise and chemicals fascinated me. The process of arriving at shiny objects was instantly appealing.” After training under Tony Shepherd of Saunders and Shepherd and leading jewellery designer John Donald, Webster started his own small studio in Chiswick. He rented a tiny space in a large warehouse that had been transformed into art studios. It was an exciting time for artists as more people became aware of design and of artists’ work. These warehouses were popping up all over London, giving opportunities to many artists starting out.

“I had some friends who were already there, it was really cool in those early days …It had its own reception … it meant that you could work in a very small place and then when someone came to visit you, there was a place to meet them, the receptionist worked for the whole building… Funnily enough it coincided with the last time that gold went through the roof. I didn’t have any customers, so it was a pretty easy period for me! I felt I could turn my hand to anything in the jewellery business, as long as it was making. So I became like a trade diamond setter. The money was peanuts but I didn’t care about that, I was doing what I wanted to do.” The catalyst that changed Webster’s trajectory was an offer of a job in the small fashionable ski resort of Banff in Canada. He stayed three years, creating jewels for the visitors to the resort. It was here that he started taking an interest in gems, as his boss returned from trips to far-flung places with an array of mesmerising gemstones. Returning to London for a short “but less than successful time”, Webster then moved out to California to work with Silverhorn Jewellers. He was working with huge gemstones for older women, one of whom happened to be Elizabeth Taylor. His time in California coincided with a change in the perception of jewellery, it was a time when people started looking at jewellery as part of “the look”; it was becoming as important as fashion. Webster was in the right place at the right time: his Cockney accent, his love for “glam-rock” music – from David Bowie to Roxy Music – and his

PREVIOUS PAGE: Africa Cuff and Africa Cocktail Ring (Couture Voyage Collection) – ruby, yellow, pink and blue sapphire, spessartite garnet, emerald, white gold LEFT: Batmoth Brooch (Fly by Night Collection) – white diamond, white gold

286

OPPOSITE PAGE: Sketch of the Batmoth Brooch from the Fly by Night Collection – goauche on paper


“My clients like to wear things that provoke questions, they aren’t wallflowers, they’re entertainers, they want to make a statement.”

STEPHEN WEBSTER The Rock Jeweller Stephen Webster was only 16 when he attended the Medway College of Design and began his long journey from bench jeweller to the London jewellery trade to one of the largest jewellery manufacturing and design brands in London with an international reputation.

“The foundry, blacksmithing and the flames, noise and chemicals fascinated me. The process of arriving at shiny objects was instantly appealing.” After training under Tony Shepherd of Saunders and Shepherd and leading jewellery designer John Donald, Webster started his own small studio in Chiswick. He rented a tiny space in a large warehouse that had been transformed into art studios. It was an exciting time for artists as more people became aware of design and of artists’ work. These warehouses were popping up all over London, giving opportunities to many artists starting out.

“I had some friends who were already there, it was really cool in those early days …It had its own reception … it meant that you could work in a very small place and then when someone came to visit you, there was a place to meet them, the receptionist worked for the whole building… Funnily enough it coincided with the last time that gold went through the roof. I didn’t have any customers, so it was a pretty easy period for me! I felt I could turn my hand to anything in the jewellery business, as long as it was making. So I became like a trade diamond setter. The money was peanuts but I didn’t care about that, I was doing what I wanted to do.” The catalyst that changed Webster’s trajectory was an offer of a job in the small fashionable ski resort of Banff in Canada. He stayed three years, creating jewels for the visitors to the resort. It was here that he started taking an interest in gems, as his boss returned from trips to far-flung places with an array of mesmerising gemstones. Returning to London for a short “but less than successful time”, Webster then moved out to California to work with Silverhorn Jewellers. He was working with huge gemstones for older women, one of whom happened to be Elizabeth Taylor. His time in California coincided with a change in the perception of jewellery, it was a time when people started looking at jewellery as part of “the look”; it was becoming as important as fashion. Webster was in the right place at the right time: his Cockney accent, his love for “glam-rock” music – from David Bowie to Roxy Music – and his

PREVIOUS PAGE: Africa Cuff and Africa Cocktail Ring (Couture Voyage Collection) – ruby, yellow, pink and blue sapphire, spessartite garnet, emerald, white gold LEFT: Batmoth Brooch (Fly by Night Collection) – white diamond, white gold

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OPPOSITE PAGE: Sketch of the Batmoth Brooch from the Fly by Night Collection – goauche on paper


THE NEW-COMERS The number of jewellery designers in the world is huge; for whatever reason, more and more people are choosing to express themselves through the art of jewellery making. To pick out just four newcomers to the scene may seem an extremely random affair: so why Rami Abboud, Tomasz Donocik, La Mouche and 10 Royale? Each of them represents a different approach to jewellery design and each is at the beginning of their own adventure. For some, such as LaMouche, this adventure started years ago as a bench jeweller working for other jewellery designers. Tomasz Donocik graduated from college and went straight on to win his first award; he is now slowly building up his first collection. Rami Abboud, the fourth generation of a jewellery family, has two galleries in the Lebanon and his jewels are in several museum collections worldwide. 10 Royale is the joker in the pack – this young and dynamic company commissions designers to work on jewellery collections with them. Its first collection came out in 2012 by Kenzo Takada.

RAMI ABBOUD Born in the Lebanon and brought up in Europe, Rami Abboud has developed a very specific style, which is the sum of not only his worldwide travels but also his architectural and gemmological studies. His undoubted fascination with the sculptural qualities of the human body has led him to create ‘contemporary wearable sculptures’ that mould to the body. The concept behind Abboud’s sculptural jewels becomes obvious with a visit to his conceptual galleries in Beirut. In his workshop he has a series of busts corresponding to a variety of different shoulder and clavicle moulds, and it is on these sculptural representations that Abboud models each of his necklaces so that they sit snuggly on the wearer.

“The well-studied sculptured necklace is created by using a series of links which work on the underside to recreate the shape of the wearer’s bust.”

Composition Ideas come to him in a sequence and he is conscious of “the ever evolving and endless possibilities.” Abboud believes that the state of a piece of jewellery is transitionary, depending on where it is being viewed. So, for example, when a woman’s hand rises to her breast, just for that instant, her ring becomes a brooch, or if she raises her hand to her ear, her ring temporarily becomes an earring. This is an important concept to bear in mind when viewing Abboud’s work; there is a certain continuity between the jewel and the body that is primordial in his work. With respect to his demi-parures, he frequently changes the composition of his earrings so that they create a contrast with the necklace. On other occasions he uses asymmetric earrings, with one side longer than the other, or he will set the earrings with different gemstones on the two sides. The demi-parure only comes together as a coherent whole when the beholder takes in the necklace and the earrings as one.

PREVIOUS PAGE: Perle de Rosée Earrings (10 Royale) – white diamond, white gold LEFT: Stream-line and Eddy Earrings – spinel, ruby, opal matrix, yellow and white diamond, white and yellow gold OPPOSITE PAGE: Stream-line and Eddy Necklace – spinel, ruby, opal matrix, yellow and white diamond, white and yellow gold

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THE NEW-COMERS The number of jewellery designers in the world is huge; for whatever reason, more and more people are choosing to express themselves through the art of jewellery making. To pick out just four newcomers to the scene may seem an extremely random affair: so why Rami Abboud, Tomasz Donocik, La Mouche and 10 Royale? Each of them represents a different approach to jewellery design and each is at the beginning of their own adventure. For some, such as LaMouche, this adventure started years ago as a bench jeweller working for other jewellery designers. Tomasz Donocik graduated from college and went straight on to win his first award; he is now slowly building up his first collection. Rami Abboud, the fourth generation of a jewellery family, has two galleries in the Lebanon and his jewels are in several museum collections worldwide. 10 Royale is the joker in the pack – this young and dynamic company commissions designers to work on jewellery collections with them. Its first collection came out in 2012 by Kenzo Takada.

RAMI ABBOUD Born in the Lebanon and brought up in Europe, Rami Abboud has developed a very specific style, which is the sum of not only his worldwide travels but also his architectural and gemmological studies. His undoubted fascination with the sculptural qualities of the human body has led him to create ‘contemporary wearable sculptures’ that mould to the body. The concept behind Abboud’s sculptural jewels becomes obvious with a visit to his conceptual galleries in Beirut. In his workshop he has a series of busts corresponding to a variety of different shoulder and clavicle moulds, and it is on these sculptural representations that Abboud models each of his necklaces so that they sit snuggly on the wearer.

“The well-studied sculptured necklace is created by using a series of links which work on the underside to recreate the shape of the wearer’s bust.”

Composition Ideas come to him in a sequence and he is conscious of “the ever evolving and endless possibilities.” Abboud believes that the state of a piece of jewellery is transitionary, depending on where it is being viewed. So, for example, when a woman’s hand rises to her breast, just for that instant, her ring becomes a brooch, or if she raises her hand to her ear, her ring temporarily becomes an earring. This is an important concept to bear in mind when viewing Abboud’s work; there is a certain continuity between the jewel and the body that is primordial in his work. With respect to his demi-parures, he frequently changes the composition of his earrings so that they create a contrast with the necklace. On other occasions he uses asymmetric earrings, with one side longer than the other, or he will set the earrings with different gemstones on the two sides. The demi-parure only comes together as a coherent whole when the beholder takes in the necklace and the earrings as one.

PREVIOUS PAGE: Perle de Rosée Earrings (10 Royale) – white diamond, white gold LEFT: Stream-line and Eddy Earrings – spinel, ruby, opal matrix, yellow and white diamond, white and yellow gold OPPOSITE PAGE: Stream-line and Eddy Necklace – spinel, ruby, opal matrix, yellow and white diamond, white and yellow gold

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